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Public Protector: I didn't snub ex-SARB governor

Jun 21 2017 15:57
Allison Jeftha and Matthew le Cordeur

Cape Town - Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane on Wednesday disputed a claim by Absa that she ignored testimony from former SA Reserve Bank governor Dr Chris Stals.

Speaking to PowerFM, Mkhwebane said the report does take into consideration the testimony of Stals. “We've also taken into consideration the report of Judge (Dennis) Davies,” she said. “The report mentions all those points, and Judge Heath, we've also taken into consideration their recommendations.”

ABSA said in a statement on Wednesday that was noteworthy that in the provisional report that was leaked in January 2017, the office of the Public Protector had relied on the alleged testimony of Dr Stals.

“In that report, it was claimed that Dr Stals had testified that the Bankorp/ABSA loan was at an interest rate of 16% instead of 1%, and that he had produced a contract to support this. Dr Stals strongly refuted the claim in the media shortly thereafter."

ABSA said the alleged testimony of Dr Stals and the document he was said to have produced are "conspicuously absent" from the final report.

"In the final report this basis is abandoned and instead it selectively relies on a report that in any case found that ABSA is not liable.”

Mkhwebane referred listeners to page 33 of her report, where Dr Stals is quoted on several points. However, the submission was the one he made to the section 417 Commission of Enquiry into affairs of Tollgate Holdings Limited, the report reveals.

Mkhwebane said it was ABSA’s right to take the matter on review.

“ABSA is within their rights to take the matter for judicial review and I will appreciate it if they can just concentrate on the effects, and the report, and not portray a situation where it’s as if I've never applied my mind on this particular investigation, which I have applied my mind,” she said. “I've also included all the inputs, which we've received.”

“I’ve seen that the Reserve Bank is also taking the matter for judicial review, which we welcome. We will engage in detail on this particular matter,” Mkhwebane said.

AUDIO: Listen to the interview on PowerFM

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public protector  |  sarb  |  absa  |  busisiwe mkhwebane


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